United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division
Berry Lee Ford, Plaintiff, Pro se, Decatur, AL.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
TERRY F. MOORER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a complaint filed by Berry Lee Ford [" Ford" ], a state inmate. In the instant civil action, Ford challenges the conditions of confinement to which he is subjected at the Decatur Work Release Facility. Ford also complains that any funds correctional officials deduct from his work release earnings in excess of 40% violates state law,  and, thereby, his federal constitutional right to due process. In support of this claim, Ford maintains that in addition to deducting the 40% allowed by Ala. Code § 14-8-6 for the cost of confinement the ADOC charges fees for transportation provided by correctional personnel to/from an inmate's place of employment and laundry service for " free-world" work apparel. Ford names Robert Bentley, Governor of the State of Alabama, Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, and Batina Carter, Warden of the Decatur Work Release Facility, as defendants in this cause of action.
Upon review of the factual allegations presented in the complaint and the assertions set forth by the plaintiff in his motions to change venue, the court concludes that this case should be transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in accordance with the directives of 28 U.S.C. § 1404.
A civil action alleging violations of an prisoner's constitutional rights may be brought " in (1) a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State, (2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred ... or (3) a judicial district in which any defendant may be found, if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). The law, however, further provides that " [f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, [and] in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district ... where it might have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
The Decatur Work Release Facility is located within the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Thus, the conditions and actions about which Ford complains are occurring in the Northern District of Alabama. In addition, defendant Carter resides in the Northern District of Alabama, as do all individuals with personal knowledge of the alleged violations of Ford's constitutional rights. Although by virtue of their positions as Governor and Commissioner defendants Bentley and Thomas reside in the Middle District of Alabama, they are subject to service of process throughout the state and commonly defend suits in all federal courts of this state. Consequently, the majority of witnesses and evidence associated with this case are located in the Northern District of Alabama. Moreover, the plaintiff argues that because " the incidents [made the basis of this complaint] are [occurring] at Decatur Alabama Work Center in Morgan County Alabama ... in the Northern District [of Alabama] ... [this case] should be transferred" to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Motion to Change Venue - Doc. No. 10 at 1.
In light of the foregoing, the court concludes that in the interest of justice and for the convenience of the parties this case be transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama for review and determination.
Accordingly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:
1. The plaintiff's motion to change venue be GRANTED.
2. This case be TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama pursuant to the ...